A couple of days ago on my way to a meeting I was stopped at a traffic light junction when a disabled man came to my car window, he was selling car cleaners . I didn’t need any, so he passed me by after asking. Moments later another disabled man who was selling the same came up to me. This was a man who has been selling similar merchandise at this traffic junction for the last 15 years and over the course of time he has sold many members of my family who pass this traffic crossing daily. He came up to my window,greeted me and condoled my grandmother’s passing away 2 months ago. The fact that he knew caught me totally off guard. He followed with casual chit chat regarding the health of the rest of my family and never once during this 5 minute exchange once mentioned whether I wanted to buy anything. You have to realize that we were at a traffic light crossing and were in a time sensitive situation. However, at the last moment, he casually asked whether I needed anything, I obliged and bought a fair share. Later on during my drive to the clients I began to think about what had just happened.
Sales is a very personal process, you are always more comfortable buying from or through individuals whom you trust or have a relationship with. Here was this man who had spent a large part of his life building a meaningful relationship with passer byes at traffic light junction . This continuous interaction on a relatively regular but short time frame basis had enabled him to build a relationship through which he could sell irrespective of whether you needed it or not. It wasn’t solely because he was handicapped otherwise I would have bought from the other vendors who attempted to sell me the same. It was only because of our relationship.
If you are running your own company or working at one where sales falls in your job scope I do believe the key to success is relationship building. I know it may sound somewhat cliched but just how many of your clients do you really know well. Truthfully, I need to do a lot more work in this area and this minor incident just showed me how strong a proposition you can build once you develop a meaningful relationship with your clients.